By Paula Erwin-Toth MSN, RN, CWOCN, CNS
Last month I had the privilege of giving a presentation and attending the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN) 45th Annual Conference held June 21-26 in Seattle, Washington.
What an inspiring, uplifting and motivating experience. The pre-conference programs, education sessions, symposia, exhibits and networking opportunities were second to none. Information for the attendees ranged from novice to expert and encouraged an interactive atmosphere to promote sharing of information. Conference smart phone apps helped attendees plan their schedule and added helpful reminders. Conservation was key since all outlines were available on a flash drive-that not only saved paper but it made carrying conference materials much easier!
A wide variety presentations on wound, ostomy and continence management techniques were presented that apply to all care settings. Probiotics, skin care, risk management, nutritional support, optimizing the wound environment, support surfaces and continence assessment and care were topical and immediately applicable to clinical practice. New product information highlighted the next generation of wound management therapies to enhance healing. Evidence based practice, quality of care, cost effectiveness, reimbursement and roles and responsibilities of various care providers offered insight and opportunities for education and collaboration.
When your meeting is comprised of your colleagues you share the same licensure and specific specialty to the the opportunity to learn, network and grow among your peers. You walk the same path and face similar challenges on a day to day basis. Your interests and needs are aligned as are your educational requirements. An advantage of an interdisciplinary conference is the opportunity to broaden your perspective among varied professionals who share a common practice focus.
There are so many wonderful meeting opportunities, it is difficult to pick and choose. If only we had unlimited funds and meeting days so we could attend all of them. Some of my WOC nursing colleagues balance and alternate their selections. For example, one year they may attend a national interdisciplinary conference and a regional WOCN meeting; the following year they will attend the national WOCN conference and a regional multidisciplinary meeting. Many national conferences offer live streaming and purchase of the conference presentations. Webinars, peer-reviewed journals and other means of professional education abound. As terrific as independent learning activities can be there is something unique about large national conferences that can enlighten your mind as well as invigorate your spirit.
About The Author
Paula Erwin-Toth has over 30 years of experience in wound, ostomy and continence care. She is a well-known author, lecturer and patient advocate who is dedicated to improving the care of people with wounds, ostomies and incontinence in the US and abroad.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.